The athletes are competing, shouldn’t advertisers be allowed to compete as well?
In the world of athletic competition, the ideals and honor of athletes and the voyage they take in order to be the best among their peers in the realm of athletic competition gives birth to some of the best stories of perseverance. But this story is one that the Olympics committee doesn’t want told.
A new Guinness ad has the still image of Tracy And Lanny Barnes, twin sister biathletes who have been to the Olympic stage and had their share of ups and downs. The ad tells the moving story of how they both have competed in past Olympics with no medals. This was their last year to compete for a medal. Tracy did qualify, but Lanny become too sick at trials to compete. Tracy gave her spot on the team to her sister, in one of the most unselfish acts of kinship and as well sportsmanship. And yet this tale cannot be told during the pinnacle showcase of international competition, due to sponsorship rules of the Olympics Committee.
According to Adweek ,the Ad was taken down by Guinness for a black out from January 30th til February 26th. This blackout, in a wake of media with Olympic athletes leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, seems uncharacteristic to an advertising plan for Guinness.
If you missed the Ad on TV, don’t be surprised. According to the Huffington Post, it only ran for one day before U.S. Olympic Committee rules forced it to be blacked out from Jan. 30 to Feb. 26. The reason? Guinness happens to be a competitor with an official U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor.
In an event that is built on competition amongst athletes, the world of advertising seems to take a different path. Sponsors can buy out large chunks of advertising or become an “official sponsor” thus alienating their competitor’s ability to advertise during the event or in this case with Olympic Athletes.
This also applies to some of the events that take place during our renowned events such as the Super Bowl, where Budweiser and Coke have cornered their market by producing the only commercials in their market. Gone are the days of strong advertising when people used to watch the Super Bowl in hopes to see brands like Budweiser and Miller duke it out during the commercial breaks. This lack of competition in our current climate may lead to less originality in the creative process of a brand, which could be the reason why we hear friends say that the Super Bowl commercials are getting weaker each year.
Some of the competitors of Budweiser and Coke found ways to get around the commercial buyout, with Pepsi Sponsoring the Half-Time show and Newcastle making an ad featuring “Pitch Perfect” actress Anna Kendrick in a “mega huge game day ad” that the brand “almost made,” and the results according to Newsday were “unexpected and hilarious”.
Although companies find ways to get their brand seen, I still think it takes away from a free market of capitalism. The free market of advertising rights during special events should be just as competitive, and these “blackouts” because of media monopolies may backfire, cutting into ad industry profits.
– Eric Benson